The MMR-Autism Controversy: Did Autism Concerns Affect Vaccine Take Up?
Posted Jun 05 2012 5:50pm
A presentation will be made at the 4th Biennial Conference of the American Society of Health Economics June 10-13 in Minnesota, entitled: The MMR-Autism Controversy: Did Autism Concerns Affect Vaccine Take Up?. The study reviews data from the National Immunization Survey from 1995 through 2006.
Interestingly, in the aftermath of the controversy, Chang found that the higher a mother’s education level, the less likely a child was to receive an MMR vaccination. In other words, college-educated mothers were less likely to have their children vaccinated than were non-college education mothers. This may be due to the fact that more educated mothers have better access and/or more quickly absorb medical information available in the media.
The researcher found that the decline in vaccination rates began with the now-retracted 1998 Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield , and that it has had impact on uptake rates for vaccines in addition to MMR:
She also found that the controversy, begun with the publication of research (later discredited) linking the MMR vaccine to risks for autism in “The Lancet” medical journal, seemingly had a spillover effect to other vaccines — such as polio or other measles-containing vaccines — likely as a result of concern for safety over the MMR controversy.
While this involves a lot of correlation discussion, I can’t help but point out another correlation: the same group that are less likely to receive MMR vaccination (children of mothers with higher education levels) are more likely to have been diagnosed with autism .